200 YEARS AGO: ALWAYS CLOSE TO THE PEOPLE AROUND THEM – ESPECIALLY IN SICKNESS AND DEATH

The church of the Oblate Mission house in Aix was never a parish. The community was young, dynamic and obviously attracted many people to their services –either in the church or in the various ministries of the Missionaries in the city. Eugene felt a sense of responsibility to these persons, particularly in the case of serious illness and the approach of death.

Art. 1. When those under the care of the missionaries fall sick, we will prepare them for the reception of the last sacraments as soon as possible. Indeed, one should not wait until the benefactors and friends of our Society are in danger of death, before showing them our gratitude and sincere affection in Jesus Christ.

The Missionaries had the responsibility of praying with them and bringing them the sacraments, but it did not end there because they continued being united with them:

We will pray for them many times each day; we will offer the Holy Sacrifice; they will be given a full and complete share in all the good works, prayers, Masses, and penances of the Society. In a word, we should provide all we can for their spiritual and also temporal needs, if it is for the glory of God.

In the case of the dying,

Once the sick under the care of a member of the society have received the last sacraments, their confessor will visit them often, even every day or several times a day, if he judges it to be necessary.

1818 Rule, Part One, Chapter 3, §5 the dying

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One Response to 200 YEARS AGO: ALWAYS CLOSE TO THE PEOPLE AROUND THEM – ESPECIALLY IN SICKNESS AND DEATH

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    “We will pray for them many times each day […] they will be given a full and complete share in all the good works, prayers, Masses and penances of the Society […] their confessor will visit them often, every day or several times a day…”

    Oblation – or perhaps a new and deeper dimension of it this morning as I ponder the heart of Eugene and his missionaries.

    Following my experience of God – hearing his voice and recognizing his love my response was to want to give myself in love to all the world. I remember telling my Beloved that the only way I would be able to love everyone was if I could give all of myself to Him; only if it was in and through Him would I would be able to love the world. I had no idea of what this would look like but I think that I wanted somehow to ‘become love’. I repeatedly asked God to take my small and broken heart and replace it with his own.

    A window, a door into the heart of Eugene and into the heart of God opens before me and there is before me an unobstructed view of what it means to join and walk with those who strive with their very lives to give of themselves in love, to make an oblation of their very selves to God and so to the world. I sit here this morning and recognize what it means to be ‘close to the people’. Oblation.

    Every bit as daunting as it is joyfully inviting, and like Eugene and his sons and daughters I am powerless to do anything other than to step forward into an eternal embrace.

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